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The passing of a legend

06/25/2014 11:20AM, Published by ACL, Categories: In Print

By Steven Hoffman

I never got a chance to write about Coach Kendig.

But I heard about him often. Each year, at the Kennett Old Timers Baseball Association banquet, at least one of the inductees, and sometimes four or five of the inductees, would speak fondly about their playing days at Kennett High School. They would always talk about how Coach Kendig made a difference in their lives. Year after year, men in their fifties or sixties, men who have had successful careers in business, men who have supported their families through life's ups and downs, would recall how, decades earlier, a baseball coach left an indelible mark on their lives.

Nathan Kendig passed away on June 13 at the age of 93.

It was only after his passing that I learned that Kendig coached the Kennett baseball team from 1953 to 1961. I always assumed that he coached the baseball team longer—after all, his impact is still felt and talked about four decades later. The baseball team won the Southern Chester County League Championship three times—in 1953, 1955, and 1957—during Kendig's brief but brilliant stint as Kennett's coach.

I also learned after his passing that Kendig had been a three-sport star in high school, spent one summer playing in the Cincinnati Reds organization, and served his country heroically. He earned a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart during his time with the U.S. Rangers in World War II.

In addition to coaching baseball, Kendig coached football and basketball. He was a vice principal at Kennett High School and was a longtime counselor at a camp in Maine during the summer.

Kendig was always something more than a baseball coach. He was a legend. And legends are never forgotten.

The rest of this editorial space is yielded to someone who knew Kendig. Steve Potter, a Chester County resident, is well known in Chester County's baseball circles. He wrote this poem about Kendig on June 21:

Legends are made

Their merits earned 

Leadership given 

For others to learn 

Honor is found 

In actions made 

Respect warranted 

In how it's displayed 

A teachers impact 

Is their legacy 

How students act

To make lessons be 

When a legend passes

There is distinct remorse

Their influence 

Was our supporting force

But a legend lost 

Is found in the memory living 

For what goes on 

Is the influence given  

Mr. Kendig 

May you rest in peace

Know that for Kennett kids

Your influence will never cease

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